Category Archives: Communication

There’s nothing new about complaints about “kids these days” or young people claiming older just “do not get” them. But there is something relatively new in the workplace: possibly the widest age gap ever seen in the last 100 years of corporatism in the western world. (Notice I’m not making any claims here on pre-industrial or early industrial societies. ) Ask a Manager just had two age-related posts in a row. First from the old and crotchety side, my managers are younger than me! I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I have to take orders from people who are no older than 18. I know they don’t have as much work experience as me, simply because of age. The one girl was already complaining to me yesterday about how she has not gotten her raise yet and has more responsibility for less pay.…

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There is a fair bit of communication talk going around this month. For instance, last week on EngineerBlogs was all about job networking and next week’s eTech magazine will be about electronics communication. However, I have found a hole in our very own social media networks which is potentially isolating and reducing good quality chat between engineers around the world. I call this the Twitter Timezone Triangle Effect. A large number of the readers of this blog will be familiar with using Twitter and other social media like facebook. These are a great way of communicating and sharing ideas around the world between engineers. You can post your work for review on your own web site and then post a link to it via Twitter. For anyone looking at their hits on their web site, they will have noticed that around half of the traffic comes from the USA. If…

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The theme this week is networking and jobs – there has been discussion on the people above us who help, friends who help,  and the fact that sometimes knowing people doesn’t directly help at all. We’ve discussed how networking is a bunch of meaningless jargon, it’s really just common sense used to help you be successful (preach it, GEARS!) – and then hell froze and we got a networking guide from an engineer. 🙂 I just got back from a conference last week, where I was an organizer. There has been a lot of talk during this week about conferences as prime networking events for engineers, but it’s all been from the perspective of an attendee or presenter. It’s quite a different experience from the organizing side – and quite exhausting! So the subject I want to address today is networking burnout. I want to know if anybody else out there experiences this – do you find…

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Networking. Just like Professor GEARS, I hate that term. People, especially recruiters, throw it around as the answer to everything. Need a job? Network. Looking for a contractor? Network. Interested in other fields? Network. I can’t stand how people seem to think it’s the panacea of the engineering world. The worst part is, NO ONE EVER TELLS YOU HOW TO DO IT! Until now. Yup, this is the engineer’s guide to networking. What is networking? Let’s start in the obvious place. What the hell is networking? I’m going to define it thusly: Networking is the process of meeting people in the hopes getting something done later. This could be a new job, obtaining critical resources or even meeting (different) people. Alright, now let’s say it in terms engineers know and want to hear: Networking will get you a job. It will make your current job easier. Or it will introduce you to some…

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I’m Back! And if last week’s post didn’t get me kicked off Engineer Blogs guest blogger list, this one might! This week’s Theme is Networking and I’m much more snarky when it comes to this topic.  Networking is great when it’s a CAT5 cable because your wireless is on the fritz. Otherwise, I severely dislike the word networking. I put words/phrases like a networking event, functionalized, a setup was realized, think outside the box, and mission statements in the category “don’t ever use” if you want to be taken seriously. (I mean, would you take me seriously if I had the GEARS Mission Statement: Realizing novel, functionalized instruments to expand your networking tools by thinking outside the box to create paradigm shifts? I know I wouldn’t.) The reason I don’t take marketing/business jargon like build your network or expand your network seriously is because the aspect of obtaining a network is treated…

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I grew up in a family of engineers, so I’m used to the way engineers think. It wasn’t until I was older that I began to appreciate how lucky I was to grow up in a household where problems were normally handled in a straightforward manner, and most discussions were highly logical. In college I found it mentally exhausting to spend time in soap-opera-drama circles of people, and it baffled me that some people in the world go out of their way to speak in code. I mean really, who has time to parse every sentence for additional meaning?? So when I see people who are not familiar with the engineering mindset interact for the first time with a set of techies, I just have to smile a bit. In particular, people trying to TEACH engineers. For instance, in undergrad I took a basic statistics class. The teacher was a lovely…

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I’m loathe to talk about this in general, but I feel it needs to be said. Social media can work for engineers. It can work really well. The reason I try not to talk about it is because I’m getting better at it and I don’t want vendors to know. I don’t want them to know because even when you know what you’re doing it can eat all of your time and I have better things to do. Just in the past few days, Jeri Ellsworth and myself have launched a campaign and website using crowd sourcing and social media that would make most vendors’ eyes pop. We went from mentioning and idea about a 555 design contest to a functional website in less than 48 hours (granted yes, we’re still working out details, but some of those details…involve vendors!). I’m sure that some day, some huge company is going to…

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